This Saturday Tu Bishvat is celebrated in Israel.
Tu Bishvat literally means the 15th day of the month of Shvat. It is the date of Rosh Hashanah La-ilanot, the “New Year for the Trees” – the turn of the year for the purposes of determining the age of a tree, which is needed for calculating a tithe. (The fourth year of a tree’s fruit is to be dedicated to God.)
In Israel, we see the almond trees blossom, marking the early days of spring and the start of growing season.
When the Jews were exiled after the destruction of the second temple, they continued to celebrate Tu Bishvat by eating various fruits that grew in the land of Israel. It was customary to partake of the seven species (shivat haminim) of fruit listed in the Bible: wheat, barley, grapes (“vines”), figs, pomegranates, olives and dates (“honey”). There is also a seder ritual, conceptually similar to Passover, which explains the spiritual significance of fruit and the shivat haminim.
When Israel was restored 68 years ago, it became customary to plant trees in barren land on Tu Bishvat.
At Vision for Israel, we believe in planting hope, watering with love, and seeing the fruits of happiness grow in peoples’ lives. That is the essence of our work.
Happy Tu Bishvat to all of our friends around the globe!